A tale of two failures

The most striking thing about Donalda MacKinnon’s pleas on behalf of the BBC in ScotlandB is that she sounds exactly like the leader of British Labour in Scotland (BLiS). The tone is identical. A tone of wheedling condescension that somehow manages to be simultaneously self-effacing and self-righteous. An elusive shifting between superficial mea culpa and thinly-veiled rebuke. An admission of fault from which all the sincerity has been sucked by an underlying insistence that the error lay in a failure to take due account of the public’s obdurate inability to comprehend.

An expression of regret just vague enough to be mistaken for contrition, until the mask slips and we see, not repentance for past behaviour, but rueful resentment that efforts to manage perceptions of that behaviour proved inadequate.

Close your eyes and you could be listening to Kezia Dugdale.

The similarity may not be so surprising. There are certainly parallels between BBC Scotland and British Labour in Scotland. Both are very much branch operations of British institutions. Both represent the British establishment in Scotland while purporting to represent Scotland within the UK. Both are part of the structures of power, privilege and patronage which define the British state, albeit only as low-status proxies for the organisation to which they are subsidiary.

Neither is capable of winning back the trust that they have lost, because neither is able to admit that they themselves squandered that trust. Neither has any intention of changing, because neither accepts that the loss of trust is a consequence of their conduct. Neither can really comprehend the underlying reasons for the change in public attitudes, because neither actually relates to the public they are supposed to serve.

While the talk is of ‘winning’ trust, there is no sense that this implies acceptance of trust having been lost for cause. Rather, the impression is of resentment at trust being unjustly denied by an ungrateful and uncomprehending public. The words speak of deserving our confidence. The voice demands our unquestioning loyalty.

From the BBC’s perspective, Donalda MacKinnon is undoubtedly the right person for the job. She has the platitudes off pat. She can do the stuff about wanting to be “open” and wanting to “understand” every bit as proficiently as Kezia Dugdale does her routine about needing to “listen and learn”. She is clearly a ‘safe pair of hands’. She will serve the corporation well, just as Dugdale serves British Labour.

But who will serve the people of Scotland?

This is where we come to the crucial difference between BLiS and BBC Scotland. In the realm of politics, the people of Scotland have a viable alternative in the SNP. In the realm of public service broadcasting, who do we turn to as the BBC continues to fail us?

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16 thoughts on “A tale of two failures

  1. Bugger le Panda

    She says the BBC in Scotland has lost the trust of Scotland which they must win back our faith.

    I predict a very short honeymoon period.

  2. Bugger le Panda

    Thinking a bit deeper about Donaldo, she is a machine generated bureaucratic political operator.

    That is because the BBC is a “creative” bureaucracy.

    Control is by committee upwards and downwards, usually used to ensure conformity to culture.

    Perfect description of the Labour Party.

    Just as the Labour unit in Scotland will never advance and will continue to decline BBC will continue to be rejected by Scotland.

    Only a complete severance with the dead hand of London will allow them the chance to embrace a peculiar relevant and effective internal culture.

    Titanic times are coming

  3. bjsalba

    I don’t have a TV licence and I stopped listening to Radio Scotyland over a year before the Independence Referendum.

    I listen to Radio 4 in the early morning to find out what the latest line of propaganda the State Broadcaster is peddling.

    I am not alone. If Donalda wants to win our trust she would have to make wholesale staff and attitude changes at Pacific Quay. I don’t see that happening.

  4. Willie John

    I always thought that one had to earn trust, not win it. Perhaps she should be told, or would she just look blank at the thought.

  5. Vestas

    Donalda MacKinnon has been the EDITORIAL boss (Head of Programmes and Services) of BBC Shortbread since 2009.

    She is the person directly responsible for the way BBC Shortbread behaved in 2014 – and indeed has behaved since.

    Her appointment is a massive “fuck you” to anyone who isn’t a BritNat loyalist.

    Pacific Quay needs to be closed down and everyone who works there can move south – they’ll be happier there anyway as someone might listen to them.

  6. Roddy Scott

    If you equate Donalda’s words of ‘winning the trust of the Scottish people’ to those of ‘winning the hearts and minds’ by Louis Hubert Gonzalve Lyautey, you will find that it is a term used for subjugated peoples.

    Westminster has always looked upon Scotland in this way but you will find that the more you try to ‘win their trust’ the less likely you are going to succeed in that task.
    The media puppet of Westminster has always bowed to their masters commands and in that sense they are unlikely to bite the hand that feeds them by actually reporting truthfully political issues in Scotland that are not slanted in favour of their keepers and are more likely to report by omission or by infactual means.

    Nice try, Donalda, but we are not falling for that one.

  7. Helena

    Good to read this, hadn’t quite thought about the comparison and similarity with Pacific Quay tactics and Scottish Labour branch.

    Looks like they are taking a passive aggressive tone with Scotland. Manipulative and bullying basically. They obviously have lost many who would have paid into their propaganda without a thought at one time. We may not have regained independence yet, but as we all know, the cogs are now in motion. By rejecting this unionist state run media, which demeans Scotland at any opportunity, and silences our democratically elected government, people are taking matters into their own hands.

    Most people know when they are being had, and once they see through the lies, there is no turning back. The BBC is a disgrace, and readily takes hard earned cash from people in Scotland via the license fee. They must be a tad worried that so many of us have ditched their lies and saved a not insignificant sum at the same time.

  8. Corrado Mella

    BLiS and BBC in Scotland are one and the same.

    The quantity of BLiS shills roaming the corridors at Pacific Quay is mind boggling.

    Ask @LenaTheHyena.

    Exactly as BLiS, BBC in Scotland is a busted flush.

    Can’t wait to see them off the air.

  9. bringiton

    The only reason the Tories haven’t privatised the BBC is because of it’s propaganda value to the British state.
    Particularly in the case of Scotland,where it’s mission is to promote “social cohesion”,i.e. see off any independence tendencies and ensure London rule continues.
    I have been increasingly aware recently of the number of Scottish news presenters on English matters and English presenters on Scottish matters.
    That is their idea of “cohesion”.
    The BBC couldn’t survive in Scotland without tax payers support,such is the degree of mistrust and that is yet another reason why Westminster will never devolve broadcasting to Holyrood.
    Once Scots “view” the BBC in the same way as RT but being forced to pay for it,then the game will be over for the London establishment in Scotland.

  10. Geejay

    Well I suppose admitting trust has been lost is a start, but it’s also the end. No analysis (beyond the cliched x calls of complaint, x of praise – so all must be ok), no introspection, no “we must find out where we’ve gone wrong, we must speak to those whose trust has been lost”. Nothing will change.

  11. Richard Smith

    Wholly apart from Imperial considerations, Scotland is a profit centre for the BBC. It’s not hard to imagine that there’s been a falling-off of license fee revenues in the last couple of years. This trend would be unlikely to be seen as a good thing within the BBC, hence Ms Duck’s ersatz and insincere apologia.

    I’m sure we can expect changes that fully live up to the expectations set by this load of passive-aggressive bollocks.

  12. Norman R

    In a nutshell shes saying that the problem is presentation rather than policy. This has echos of the Scottish Tories during the Thatcher, Major years and their veneer failed miserably. If the BBC continues to be corrupt, biased and anti-Scottish then it will continue to be seen as such and no amount of gloss will change this. We`re not that gullible!

  13. Tarisgal

    “We obviously haven’t explained what we’re about, properly. Once we do, you’ll understand better and everything will be okay again”. No apology for how Scotland has been treated, no acceptance they’ve got anything wrong. Just absolute, unmitigated arrogance on her part!! Apparently the loss of trust isn’t the BBC’s fault, it’s purely that we don’t understand how BBC works. And if they just point us to the errors of our ways, everything will be hunkie dorie again.

    This has nothing to go with the ‘loss of trust’, but all to do with the huge numbers of Licenses being cancelled and the resultant loss of revenue. Also that fact means thousands of people over which the BBC ‘news’ no longer has control. If they can’t sway us with their ‘Scotland in crisis’ nonsense, we might want to control our OWN destiny! Oh dear!

    Well, let me explain THIS to you, ducky! The License stays fairly and squarely where it is – in File 13! And I tell BBC this now – that is never going to change. Suck it up, buttercup.

  14. ewan smith

    sick of this crap its effecting business dont know if we are in or out.so since we dont listen to public first time when is indy ref 5 or will ww3 start first ?

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